CINCINNATI — Jason Margelfsky came from Riverdale, New Jersey.
"My goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. And I did my research in Ohio, and I was told this is the one to do in Ohio," he said.
Adam Young came from St. Louis to run the half marathon.
Jamie Howell came from San Diego.
They and thousands more came from out of town this weekend for the 21st Flying Pig Marathon, one of the Tri-State biggest events. Visitors account for about 40 percent of the expected 40,000 runners and walkers.
"If you're here this weekend, I hope you're not trying to have a wedding because every hotel in the Cincinnati area is booked," said Doug Olberding, chair of the Department of Sports Studies at Xavier University.
"It is one of the largest heads and beds weekends of the year.”
It’s also one of the largest economic drivers for the area.
The charm of the Flying Pig attracts competitors from all over North America and nearly 30 countries worldwide.
Since those visitors stay at hotels, eat at restaurants and spend more dollars on entertainment, the Flying Pig is expected to have a $15 million impact on the local economy, Olberding said.
That means money filtering into the economy that wasn't there before.
"A portion of that stays here, recirculates around in the form of wages for the people that work,” Olberding said.
Margelfsky, Young and other race participants poured into the Duke Energy Center on Friday for registration. Then it was off to check out the city.
"I heard about this barbecue place. We're checking that after the breweries," Margelfsky said.
After that, Margelfsky said he was looking forward to Sunday’s main event and the crowds that line the streets in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for the races starting Saturday.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing all the runners,” he said. “If you see me - my name is Jason - yell my name. Cheer for me."